Coconut and Lemongrass Cake

Earlier this week I brought this cake, admittedly made with spelt flour, to work since I would be at a new branch on my birthday. I was subsequently asked for the recipe, so here it is!

The lemongrass provides a light, unique flavour that makes me say 'try this cake at least once'.

Recipe from Rachel Allen's book Cake


4 stalks of lemongrass, tops and bases trimmed and outer leaves removed250g caster sugar4 eggs200g butter, softened (I used sunflower spread)125g desiccated coconut125g plain flour2tsp baking powder For the syrup: 75g sugar75ml waterlemongrass trimmings Preheat the oven to 170 Celsius (325 Fahrenheit) or Gas mark 3. Line a deep 23cm diameter baking tin with baking paper Thinly slice the lemongrass stalks and put in a food processor with the caster sugar. Run the mixture until the lemongrass is pureed and fragrant Add the eggs, butter and coconut, mix until combined. Sift the flour and baking powder and add to the mixture, mix until just combined Tip…

The Oven is Fixed!

I mentioned this briefly on Twitter, my landlord's handyman came in yesterday and fixed the oven, but before I reveal what happened, let me remind you what prompted me to call in the professional on this.
When I used the oven, I realised there was a strong smell, like fish, coming from it. I cleaned it thoroughly with oven spray, let's just say it needed that, but the smell remained.
Pattering around on the Internet I came across a thread on netmums wherein one user, Jodie, suggested the smell is a sign of failing electrics and to get them checked. This actually made sense because while the hob is gas my oven is electric. I called my landlord and switched it off at the mains, using matches for my hob so no one forgot to turn it back off.
So yesterday, while I was already at work, the handyman arrived. Xander went to work before he could look at it, but what it boiled down to was the plug had shorted. So he cut the burnt off bits, installed a new plug and reassembled the device…

Life Rambles- Modern Teens and Workforce

I'm not too proud to deny it, I work in retail full time, been in my current job nearing two years now, but between my mother being an A level Maths teacher and work, I'm hearing the word 'lazy' an awful lot when talking about those in the 16-18 band.

Sometimes, I think there are things that we're not teaching people at school:
Getting past the interview is not the end. With some of our short-lived colleagues, it's their first job, and I have gotten the feeling that they believed it's plain sailing once they pass that interview and get the offer.
I cannot remember a time in school where I was told about probationary periods. This is a time when your boss is monitoring your performance to see if you really can do the job. It can be three months initially, but employers are allowed to extend it up to six if they think they need more time to see what you're capable of. If someone does not uphold the standards expected persistently, they are let go with no …

Soda farls

So I'm not expecting to get a hold of an electrician for at least another week (the one my landlord trusts is out of town, and the one I work with is on holiday, go figure...) he suspects a shorted element, but we'll have to see what the damage is when he gets back.

But as we experiment on the hob (and pursuing solutions to problems from said attempts) I began culling things that went uneaten (this was mostly long-life stuff stowed away for emergency situations that never presented themselves) I came across four jars of sandwich pickle. This with ham is Xander's filling of choice for sandwiches, which he was put off of because he didn't like the texture of gluten free bread and spelt bread from The Bread Shop was always at risk of cross-contamination.

So on Wednesday I come home from the supermarket laden with fresh goodies for a top-up, since there's only so much room in our fridge and a lot is taken by cold drinks and a week's worth of lunches after Sunday pr…

Occasionally self-retesting

A couple of times a year, Xander eats something with wheat on purpose.

What is this madness? Well, first of all, let me explain what separates allergies from other intolerances.

An allergy is when the immune system develops antibodies against something relatively harmless. When we are exposed to a pathogen (a disease causing microbe) our body's biggest defence is antibodies, which are generated by a specific kind of white blood cell. Antibodies are designed to target specific antigens, which are markers for these pathogens. That said, in order to develop these antibodies, our bodies need to be exposed to these pathogens or allergens. This is why we have vaccinations, and why fatal allergic reactions are rarely the first exposure. Allergies is when the allergen is believed by a person's body to be a pathogen and the immune system reacts to it. The things we suffer as a result are in fact our body trying to purge us of the allergen.

This is not to be mixed up with autoimmune dis…

Bumps in the road- baking is off for a while

As I mentioned on Twitter this morning, my oven is officially a hazard until further notice, so it's switched off at the mains apart from when we're using the hob (the sparks use the same switch) until my landlord's handyman can see to it (worst case scenario, I'll be getting an electrician to look at it and having my landlord pay the bill).

So why share it like this when I tweeted about it already? Well, it was such a subtle sign that I felt that I should share it, because this is something that could potentially prevent a fire and even save lives.

With that said, let me elaborate on the incident.

The thing that I noticed was that whenever I used the oven, I was getting a really fishy smell. It wouldn't have been the end of the world, were it not for the fact that I rarely cook fish. Xander's first thought was perhaps something to do with the oven itself was releasing this strange smell, so I took the oven cleaner to it. I got a lot more gunk out doing so than…

Narutally gluten free food

Thanks in part to it being a fad diet as much as a captive market, gluten free food can be as much as four times more than its counterparts according to Coeliac UK (learned via the BBC documentary Clean Eating's Dirty Secrets). Make no mistake, supermarkets are happy to find the cravings of those on these diets and make compliant alternatives in the interest of lining their pockets.

So when Gluten Free Works put up a list of naturally gluten free foods, I pointed out that they should have a version for the UK. Their answer was simple, if I did it, they'd share it.

Challenge accepted.

As with their own article, raw fruit and vegetables, fresh dairy and meat are all naturally gluten free, meaning you can easily create a diverse range of flavours.

For carbs, rice and potatoes are abundant, cheap and naturally gluten free.

Wine and spirit based vinegars

Malt vinegar is made from barley, making it unsuitable for coeliacs, but there are plenty of things to give your food a flavourful…